Courtesy Susan De Vries/Brownstoner

10 under-the-radar gay history sites in NYC

Hidden nods to LGBT history abound in Gotham—here are a few you might want to check out.

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New York City is a famous bastion of queer culture but there are also less well-known aspects of LGBT culture and history in the city. If you have already visited The Stonewall Innhere are 10 pieces of history hidden in plain sight. From the homes of influential figures and artists, to the forgotten sites of groundbreaking protests. 

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Gay Landmarks in NYC

Part museum, part community center, the Lesbian Herstory Archives, located in Park Slope, is dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of lesbian history, and contains the largest collection of materials by and about lesbians. Current exhibits include “Queer Covers: Lesbian Survival Literature,” which features covers from the institution's collection of lesbian pulp novels, and a look at the life of Audre Lorde.
484 14th St, Park Slope

This street commemorates the life of Julio Rivera, a gay Puerto Rican man who was brutally attacked and murdered at a nearby schoolyard in 1990. His death became the first gay hate crime to be tried in New York State. Councilman Daniel Dromm called the mobilization efforts after Rivera’s death “Queens’s Stonewall.”
78th St & 37th Ave, Jackson Heights

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This historic plaque was first unveiled in October 2015 at the former residence of prolific author James Baldwin, who lived there in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Both a vital voice for the civil rights movement and an inspirational figure for the then-emerging gay rights movement, Baldwin’s imprint is everlasting.
81 Horatio St, West Village

A national historic landmark, this cemetery hosts some incredibly historic LGBTQ individuals including composers Leonard Bernstein and Fredd Ebb, Paul Jabara, co-writer of “It’s Raining Men,” and Emma Stebbins, sculptor of the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.

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It doesn’t get much more historic than this site, which 55 years ago played host to the first known public demonstration on gay rights, four years before the Stonewall Riots. Back then, it was the army's induction center (with a different address of 39 Whitehall St.) The reason for the protest—which remains a hot button issue decades later—was to protest the military’s discriminatory practices against the LGBT community.
3 New York Plaza, Financial District

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With a facade restoration completed in 2018, now is the perfect time to catch a look at the one-time dwellings of author Truman Capote, who lived in the garden apartment for a decade, and wrote two of his most seminal works—Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood—will residing here.
70 Willow Street, Brooklyn Heights

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Though many New Yorkers know this beloved sculpture, many don’t think of it from the perspective of the woman who made it: Emma Stebbins. The lesbian sculptor’s work became New York City’s first ever major piece of public art commissioned from a woman in 1873.
72 Terrace Dr, Central Park

Just three years after the Stonewall uprising in 1972, the Mattachine Society, a group formed during the rise of the Gay Liberation Movement with a mission of "serving the needs of all homosexuals,” moved its office to bustling Christopher Street, where it continued to offer its services including counseling as well as helping LGBT folks to connect with physicians, attorneys and more.
59 Christopher Street, West Village

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